Posted in movies

Always (2011)

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Movie: Always (오직 그대만)
Release Date: October 20, 2011
Runtime: 108 min.
Distributor: Showbox
Country: South Korea

Plot
A love story between a struggling boxer and a blind woman. Can they beat the odds and have a happy ever after or are they destined to have a tragic ending?

Main Cast
So Ji Sub – Cheol Min
Han Hyo Joo – Jung Hwa

Review
So Ji Sub really makes sad tortured souls with a heart of gold look so dreamy. or maybe I am just a big fan of him. I couldn’t stop staring at his eyes, brushing his messy hair and hug him and say “It’s alright”.

Jung Hwa is lucky she meet a decent guy who didn’t care if she was blind, and didn’t take advantage of her. It was just a bonus that Cheol Min was handsome and sexy.

I actually didn’t expect a happy ending since Korean movies tend to go darker than Kdramas. I really thought Cheol Min will sacrifice himself by donating his own eyes to Jung Hwa because he felt guilty that he indirectly caused the accident that made her blind. Maybe because I just recently re-watched this super classic music video of Kiss – Because I’m a Woman. LOL.

I can’t say I agree with Cheol Min’s idea to pay for Jung Hwa’s surgery but I guess that’s the best that he could do given the situation. And him not contacting Jung Hwa after was understandable since he was also in pain and needed to recover.

That scene when Jung Hwa finally recognized Cheol Min made me also cry and I’m so happy when they met again!! Cheol Min accepted Jung Hwa as she were, and likewise, Jung Hwa is there to support Cheol Min too. I believe they are still together now, and still very happy!

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted in movies

New Year Blues (2021)

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Movie: New Year Blues (새해전야)
Release Date: February 10, 2021
Runtime: 114 min.
Distributor: Acemaker Movie Works
Country: South Korea

This is a story of 4 different couples a week before New Year. The movie is quite long, clocking in at almost 2 hours. Halfway I was started to get a little bored because the story kept switching between the 4 couples. I think 4 was too much. This would have been better if there were only 3 couples that we needed to focus on.

My fave couple was Kim Kang Woo and Yoo Inna (or maybe I’m just biased towards Kangwoo 😊). I like the gruff bodyguard and sweet female couple.

My fave story/ending was Lee Dong Hwi and Chen Du Ling plus Yum Hye Ran as the sister. I also cried when Dong Hwi’s character was confessing to his fiance. and laughed when he came out of the drum.

The most romantic setting is Lee Yeon Hee and Yoo Yeon Seok in Argentina although their story seems out of place. (Sidenote: why does Yeonhee keeps going abroad when she gets heartbroken lol) and the funny cameo of Choi Siwon.

The one I was confused because I didn’t know why they were fighting in the first place was Yoo Teo and Choi Soo Young’s characters. They seemed to be okay, I think it was more on guilt from the guy’s side.

Overall it was a nice holiday film.

Rating: 8.5/10

Posted in kdrama

Nevertheless (2021)

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Drama: Nevertheless (알고있지만)
Network: JTBC
Episodes: 10
Release Date: June 19 – August 21, 2021
Runtime: Saturday 23:00
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Plot
A girl who just got out of a bad relationship meets two guys who like her. One is a playboy she can’t resist, the other is a childhood friend who is in love with her. Which guy will she choose?

Main Cast
Han So Hee – Yoo Nabi
Song Kang – Park Jae Eun
Chae Jong Hyeop – Yang Do Hyeok
Yang Hye Ji – Oh Bit Na
Kim Min Gwi – Nam Kyu Hyun
Lee Ho Jung – Yoon Sol
Yoon Seo Ah – Seo Ji Wan

Review:
I’m probably one of the minority who liked this drama and the ending. Give these kids a break. They are in college so they are still immature and bound to make mistakes. Heck, even mature adults tend to be foolish when it comes to love. And society has long dictated that everyone has to be in a relationship and get married or else you’re weird or pathetic. Not everyone wants to be in a relationship, the same way that not everyone wants to keep dating. To each his own. For me, what’s important is the couple has to communicate and be honest with each other with what they want. If you both agree to date with no labels, that’s fine. No one is a “playboy” or a “slut” just because they are dating or sleeping with someone with no labels.

I think the main problem with Jae Eon and Nabi’s relationship is not talking to each other. They both like each other, but rather than sit down and talk about it, they prefer to hide their feelings (Jae Eon) or push back then keep coming back (Nabi). They also didn’t trust each other. Had Jae Eon and Nabi had talked and trusted each other in the first place, we wouldn’t have a story. Maybe Nabi would have realized that Jae Eon was really sincere. Maybe Jae On would have realized he’s a fool to let her go. Maybe they continue with their relationship and then break up within the year. Or maybe they’ll last a few years.

Love is a gamble. Use both your head and your heart (not just one or the other). Whomever you choose, be ready to face the consequences. If you feel the relationship is not right or you made a wrong decision, be brave to get out of the relationship or yourself and your partner. I was actually fine with whoever Nabi chose to be with, whether it’s Do Hyeok or Jae Eon. Just like what the professor said. “Eat what you want. And do what you want to do. Like the people you like.” But i’ll add “As long as you’re not hurting anyone.”

Comparing between Do Hyeok and Jae Eon, I felt that Nabi has no romantic feelings for Do Hyeok. Some people are saying, Nabi doesn’t deserve Do Hyeok. Well, Nabi never liked him more than as a friend anyways. Likewise, just because Do Hyeok is nice doesn’t mean he has to get the girl. You can’t force feelings. Wouldn’t it be worse if Nabi accepted Do Hyeok even if she didn’t like him? It would be better to stay as friends. And both of them deserve to be happy with someone who loves them back.

A person can be super sweet in public but abusive in private. A bad person can also change with the right person. Let’s not make judgements based on rumors or what other people say. Interesting to me that Jae Eon is made to be a bad guy but why do Bitna, Sol, Jiwan encourage Nabi to go out with him? Either they know the real Jae Eon is nice or they are lousy friends. There was also this scene where the girl that Jae Eon dated was badmouthing or lying about him to her friends. I guess that’s where his reputation started. I wish we had more scenes showing Jae Eon’s point of view so we actually get to know him better and what he really feels. Most of the time, it’s one sided, we only hear Nabi’s thoughts, it was only in the last 2 episodes we hear Jae Eon’s thoughts about her. There seems to be a background story why Jae Eon refuses to be in a relationship. It’s probably because he grew up without a steady and loving relationship with his parents, that’s why he is cold and doesn’t let people in. Or he pushes back the minute he starts feeling something or the girl is becoming clingy.

This drama also made me realize that we as viewers (ranting on the internet) plus all of Nabi’s friends are commenting and gossiping too much on Nabi and Jae Eon’s relationship when we aren’t even part of the relationship! Just like how we do with our own friends, we meddle and gossip about other people. I realized we should all mind our own business coz we don’t know what’s happening between them. All we can do is give advice (if they need or want it) and support them.

The best character for me is Kyu Hyun. Probably the only mature one in the group. So I’m not happy he ended up with Bitna who seems really immature. This drama also hyped too much on Sol and Jiwan’s relationship. I wasn’t sure why. They didn’t really do anything but have misunderstandings all throughout the drama. And i didn’t like Jiwan. I don’t know if it’s the acting or that’s really the character, but her aegyo wasn’t cute, it was annoying. She looked so immature compared to the smart and sensible Sol. But i guess for these 2 couples opposites attract, and both seem happy so again, let’s mind our own business 🙂

The downsides of this drama are the too many references on butterfly. Like, okay I get it Nabi. butterfly tattoo, butterfly lighter, real butterflies in Jae Eon’s house, butterfly sculpture. Yeah Yeah. I honestly find butterflies creepy, because there’s this superstition that when you see butterfly (esp white or black), it means someone is going to die or someone dead is trying to make themselves felt.

Also, the second half dragged and the scenes and conflicts were repetitive. Push and pull. Argue, make up, fight. Okay maybe this really happens in reality. I know the feeling of being insecure or being in that ‘are we or aren’t we together’ phase and it is scary and uneasy feeling. So I totally felt for Nabi. The ‘I don’t like you but I can’t resist coming back’ is a feeling I know too much and trust me, it’s terrible and really difficult to cut off. But 10 episodes (already short in Kdrama standards) still felt too long considering the quality of the story. Maybe 8 would have made the story tighter. Or they could have explored Jae Eon’s pov more.

Lastly, I wanted to see everyone’s exhibition projects, not just Nabi’s and Sol’s.

Rating: 8/10

Posted in kdrama

Monthly Magazine House (2021)

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Drama: Monthly Magazine Home (월간 집)
Network: JTBC
Episodes: 16
Release Date: June 16 – August 5, 2021
Runtime: Wed. & Thu. 21:00

Plot: A guy with a house falls in love with a girl who dreams of a home.

Main Cast:
Kim Ji Suk – Yoo Ja Sung
Jung Somin – Na Young Won
Jung Gun Joo – Shin Gyeom
Kim Won Hae – Choi Go
Chae Jung Ahn – Yeo Ui Joo
Ahn Chang Hwan – Nam Sang Soon

Review:
Watch this if you like the classic romcoms kind of Kdramas. For newbies, you might get annoyed with how Jasung treats Young Won.

I think without a great cast, this could have been really bad. Yoo Jasung is an a$$hat at the start but somehow I couldn’t get angry at him because how could I when he is played by Kim Jisuk who has effortlessly hilarious and handsome. I like Jasung. He wasn’t being a jerk because he is a jerk. It’s just that he had a bad childhood and decided to focus all his energy into making money. So much that he has forgotten to live. I wouldn’t mind having a generous friend like Jasung hihi.

Somin’s character is a more upbeat version of BIMFL character. She is wonderful and charming. When Young won, who maybe poor but also still very warm, came into his life, he couldn’t help but thaw his ice cold heart. After all, what’s the use of having too much money when you can’t share your life with someone? I believe Jasung was drawn by Young won because like her, he understands how it is to be poor and not to have a home. And he was also impressed how much Young won was trying hard save up to have her own house. So much that he started helping her in his own little ways. Soon, he was spreading his goodwill to everyone in his team.

I knew that when he falls for Youngwon it will be hard. HAHA. I love Kim Ji Suk’s expressions like he was always so stunned by Young Won’s beauty and how everything she does is like so amazing. And everytime she gives him a compliment, his frown turns into a big humongous grin that makes him want to dance to Bboom Bboom. And I love that he never nagged her or looked down on her just because she didn’t have money or expected her to grovel at his feet because he is rich.

Jasung who was so obsessed with money never had a chance to date or have a relationship. Just like how he deals with money, he was determined to succeed in being the best boyfriend to Young Won. Of course being a newbie, he made a lot of mistakes, and I like that he was quick to say sorry or learn how to be better.

Of course, like everyday Kdrama, after getting together and being cute, there will be this defining moment where the couple argues and break up. In this case, Jasung broke up with Young Won for Shin Gyeom, the second lead. For me, Shin Gyeom was cute but boring. He was no match to Jasung’s charisma and energy. And he never had a chance with Young Won because she never liked him other than as a friend. So I feel like his character was a waster or was just there to have some sort of conflict. When Jasung found out that Gyeom likes Young Won too, he decided to break up with Young Won because of his loyalty for Gyeom. Some said it was a noble idiot move, but for me, it was more than that. Jasung have known Gyeom for years. It’s bros before hoes. And it’s his first time to be in love and didn’t know how to handle it. Maybe he should have talked to Young Won about it. Gave Young Won an opportunity to decide what to do since she is part of the relationship. Jasung could also have confronted Gyeom about it and talked about it like a man. Or maybe they didn’t have to break up, just lie low and not rub his relationship in Gyeom’s face. After all, love’s fair in love and war.

When Jasung finally realized what a fool he was and begged Young Won to take him back, i love that Young Won didn’t easily bend and made him worked hard for it. You go girl! He can’t just dump her ruthlessly and think he can come back as if nothing happened. She eventually learned that again, Jasung wasn’t being an ass and realized that all this time he has been there for her and cheered for her even if it’s hard for him to sometimes express how he feels.

As for the Wolganjib team, everyone was funny esp the second couple Sang Soon and Ui Joo. I also liked their story from being a bickering colleagues with different lifestyles to falling in love. Opposites do attract! Of course my fave Kim Won Hae was both annoying at times when he’s trying to be a “good” boss but I love him more as a better friend and confidante to Jasung, Ui Joo and Sang Soon.

I love all the houses that got featured in every episode and all the tidbits about home and money saving. My favorite was the beach house in episode 8 because I also dreamed of retired in a beach front property.

The OST is so nice, especially Imagine and Here I Am. Yup I just bought my own copy! Will do an unboxing video once it arrives.

Now to the worst thing that almost ruined the show. I hate when the writer thinks he/she needs to make an explosive or out of the box twist to end the show. I watched Drinking Solo and the ending was a disappointment, but this was worse than that. Up until episode 15 the drama was so nice and happy. I thought they were going to get their happy ever after. I even liked the twist with the connection between Young Won’s father and Jasung’s past. I thought, hey, that’s so perfect! The writer even found a way to close their childhood traumas and bring the story into a full circle!

But dang what the F happened?!? Young Won got so guilty and disappeared for 3(?) years. Okayyyy maybe we needed the time jump where Young Won works for someone else and not under her boyfriend’s company and where she can heal. Maybe when they meet again they will be “equal” and they will find love again. Their eventual meetup was so nice, at the same place where they had a day trip together, with the crowds blurring and centering on the couple. I remember the exact same scene in Drinking Solo when the couple was also eating at a restaurant and saw each other from the other table. Exact same thing. They could have ended MMH like this and I would have been satisfied. But no, we see Young Won showing Jasung her own big house that she built on her own in just 3 years. Like where did she get the money to buy a land and construct a big house? Where did she even go for 3 years? Turns out she was just working in another magazine. What??? Then how come Jasung never found her? She never even went overseas. And the biggest question of all.. are they getting back together? To me, it felt like they ended up being exes turned good friends. Or worse, like Jasung was just a mentor/big brother to Young Won. Awww.. I’m not happy with the ending but overall, I still loved this drama.

Rating: 8.75/10

Posted in ctwdrama

Moonlight (2021)

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Drama: Moonlight (月光变奏曲)
Country: China
Episodes: 36
Aired: May 20, 2021 – Jun 6, 2021
Aired On: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Original Network: iQiyi, iQiyi
Duration: 45 min.

Plot
A cute love story between an editor and her author.

Main Cast
Ryan Ding Yuxi – Zhou Chuan
Esther Yu Shu – Chu Li
Yang Shi Ze – Jiang Yu Cheng
Ma Yin Yin – Gu Bai Zhi

Review:
For my favorite scenes, please check out these posts:
Moonlight (2021) Eps 1-18
Moonlight eps. 19-35

My first completed CDrama for the year!! Light romcom with a few heart tugging scenes. Hands down my favorite part of this drama is the winning chemistry between Zhou Chuan and Chu Li. They were perfectly matched. Zhou Chuan may have been a fool during the first part, but I’m glad that when it counts, he gives it all. He is always sincere towards Chu Li and think of her well being. Likewise, Chu Li is always there to support Zhou Chuan at work and at home. I’m glad there were not a lot of “big” fights except for that one time, but Zhou Chuan quickly redeemed himself.

I also loved bromance between Zhou Chuan and Jiang Yu Cheng. I really admire their friendship.. they tease each other and always try to be better than the other like how guys are like. But they also have each other’s backs when needed. Zhou Chuan supported Yu Cheng during his break ups and his new novel. While Yu Cheng advises Zhou Chuan on relationships (even though he fails big time lol) and during the ghostwriting scandal, he was one of the first who thought of finding a solution to his problem.

One of the storylines that I didnt expect would touch me is the the relationship between Zhou Chuan and his father. That part when Zhou Chuan was being battered by the internet trolls, his father didn’t hesitate to support his son, even though he may not always approve of him. Ryan Ding’s acting when he realized what his father has done, and how he has kept all of his school works, and finally when he won the Huazhi award which was handed to him by his father were my favorites. I wanted to cry and hug him too.

I love books and writing so the publishing house setting and having a glimpse of how book publishing works was so interesting to me. What I didn’t like was Editor Miao who was so unprofessional!!

Also, it was very unbelievable how Chu Li is so good at her job. She was intern and was able to sign the best authors without any experience. She always had the best solutions to each problem that even the chief editors couldn’t solve. She would go against the deputy editor, the head of Circulation Dept like it was a piece of cake. In reality I know it’s so impossible to happen. She also rose from intern to deputy editor to chief editor in just 4 ( or 5?) years which is also very unlikely. And whoever styled her should have been fired. She was always in baggy clothes or casual attire in the office.

Of course, the drama is not complete without stunning cinematography and the nice soundtrack. Both Esther and Ryan sing in the soundtrack and I love their voices.

On the down side, I didn’t like eps 31-35 that much — the ghost writing scandal and especially that storyline about the obsessed school mate/celebrity. I think there could have been better plots that could have challenged Zhou Chuan’s career and his relationship with Chu Li.

I like Jang Yu Cheng as Zhou Chuan’s best friend and author, but I didn’t like his love story with Gu Bai Zhi. The first half was so boring, I didn’t really care if they get together or not. I also didn’t like the old lady’s scenes. I just fast forwarded all of her scenes because it felt like it was “forcing” Gu Bai Zhi and Jiang Yu Cheng to remember their past. Gu Bai Zhe also looked cold, I wanted to side with Yu Cheng. I started rooting for them when they were flirting and were getting back together. But as quickly as they got back, they broke up again because it turns out, it was also Yu Cheng being a jerk to Bai Zhi and not trusting her. They eventually got back together although it didn’t feel “grand”. But what I appreciated most is the two of them, acknowledging their issues and promising to work on them and their relationship.

Rating: 9/10